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This study investigated the major factors that influence the vulnerability of a household to food insecurity in the context of a rural community in Mohale’s Hoek. The study also traced the changes in the level of vulnerability of households to poverty between 2009 and 2013. Primary data was collected through the Household Vulnerability Index (HVI) survey of 2581 households in 2009 and 325 randomly sampled households in 2013. The Household Vulnerability Index developed by the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) was used to quantify the household vulnerability of household based on the capital assets of the Sustainable Livelihood Framework: social assets, physical assets, financial assets, natural assets and human assets. An ordinal regression was estimated for the categories of vulnerability based on the HVI score: Low vulnerability, Moderate vulnerability and High Vulnerability. The results indicate that the proportion of households with a high vulnerability have increased by 7.8 percent between 2009 and 2013. Parameter estimates of the ordinal regression model identify highly vulnerable households as households predominantly comprising of; (i) female heads and where the head is of an elderly age, (ii) two meals a day which are mainly wild fruits and inter-family food transfers, and (iii) limited land for cropping of staple foods. There is an urgent need to develop policies that are aimed at directly improving the livelihood of households in poverty stricken districts such Maphutseng as well as make the households more resilient to shocks.
Keywords: Vulnerability, Agriculture, Lesotho